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Power

The Texas Petawatt Laser 174

Roland Piquepaille notes the hype surrounding what the University of Texas at Austin is calling the world's most powerful laser. During a tenth of a femtosecond this laser is 2,000 times more powerful than all the power plants in the US, and is brighter than sunlight on the surface of the Sun. On his own blog Roland points out that UT's is not the first petawatt laser; that distinction belongs to a system installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1996.
Power

U of MI Produces Strongest Laser Ever 244

eldavojohn writes "Weighing in at a mere 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter and containing a measly 300 terawatts of power, the University of Michigan has broken a record with a 1.3-micron speck wide laser. It's about two orders of magnitude higher than any other laser in the world and can perform for 30 femtoseconds once every ten seconds — some of the researchers speculate it is the most powerful laser in the universe. 'If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory ... To achieve this beam, the research team added another amplifier to the HERCULES laser system, which previously operated at 50 terawatts. HERCULES is a titanium-sapphire laser that takes up several rooms at U-M's Center for Ultrafast Optical Science. Light fed into it bounces like a pinball off a series of mirrors and other optical elements. It gets stretched, energized, squeezed and focused along the way.'" And ... cue the evil chortling.

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